By: Gabe Liliedahl
September 23, 2023
In last week’s blog, I mentioned that the gift of prophecy does not have to be complicated. It doesn’t.
It can be sure, but it when it comes to a word of encouragement for a person, or even a church, it doesn’t have to be difficult.
This is a fabulous opportunity to point out the shortest prophecy in the Old Testament. I love teaching this one! It’s from Haggai.
Hag 1:13 ESV Then Haggai, the messenger of the LORD, spoke to the people with the LORD's message, “I am with you, declares the LORD.”
God says, “I am with you.” That’s it. That’s it? Yup. It doesn’t get any better or easier than this! How hard is it to prophesy the words, "God says I’m with you"? Could you say that to someone?
For just a moment, forget about speaking for God.
Could you say, “God is with you” to someone?
I’ve been on this kick lately while writing my third book. I keep going back to the idea that even atheists could encourage or comfort people. They can.
I don’t have to dig up scriptural support to preach to you that we should be encouraging and comforting people. We should be.
There’s nothing wrong with encouraging someone even without hearing God’s voice.
But if someone is encouraging someone else, they’re almost prophesying. Anyone can say to someone else, “God is with you.”
The only reason it’s a prophecy is because Haggai heard it from God or was led by God to speak it. There are times throughout the Old Testament when God gave someone a word for word prophecy to speak to people.
There is no record of this prophecy being a word-for-word message from God. Haggai just speaks the message after the people are back in God’s will. See for yourself (Hag 1:12-13).
I think he was led to speak it. Granted, according to the context, there’s more going on here. Even so, we can use this example to make a case for simple prophecy. In Haggai’s situation, the people have ignored God’s house.
Haggai had previously given them a prophecy to get God’s house in order. It is a complicated prophecy, yes. The people respond and begin doing what they were supposed to do. Then the Lord has Haggai give the simple prophecy above. “I’m with you.” Haggai is operating in the full authority of a prophet. However, the message fits the basic requirements of simple New Testament prophecy.
Prophecy is a church gift, according to Paul.
If the Lord stirs you up to prophesy, it’s going to be to the body of Christ as a whole or to an individual in the church.
The Bible says prophecy is meant to encourage or comfort.
In the New Testament, we don’t have to determine if the people are in God’s will or not. According to Paul, the gift is to encourage or comfort (1st Cor 14:1-3). So, if you’re moved to prophesy to someone, those are the requirements of the prophecy you are to give. Encouragement and comfort, not doom, gloom and judgement.
Some people have used the prophetic gifts as an opportunity to minister judgement rather than grace. That’s not what the gift of prophecy is for.
Always defer to grace. Always.
To use the gift otherwise is to step out of the level one gifting and into another level of gifting (For the different levels of prophecy, go here). I’m not teaching anyone how to be a doom and gloom prophet. We’ll dip our toes into other stuff from time to time, but no one gets to bypass level one prophecy, not even real prophets (Acts 15:32).
So how do you do it?
Situations vary. For now, we’ll focus on the individual. If you’ve never done it before, it can be a little intimidating. To step out and imply you’re God’s spokesperson can be a little trying. The internal spiritual warfare can be killer. Just being real.
The first thing you need to do is pray silently if you’re getting a word from God while in church. If you’re already in conversation with the person, it can be even more difficult. There may not be any time to rehearse the message prior to giving it. You don’t have to put the Lord’s name on it or call it a prophecy at all. It may be helpful just to give the word so you can have experience telling someone something, after having dealt with the act of receiving and processing a revelation from God for another..
If you have to say anything to imply the message is inspired, you can simply say, “I feel led to tell you this…” Or, “The spirit is showing me this.” I usually tell people, "I think the Lord is saying."
Just get in, give the word to them and get out of there.
Don’t explain it.
Don’t justify how you got the message.
Just give the word and go.
If you’re prophesying a message to a member of the opposite sex, you’ll need to take someone else with you. You want accountability with this kind of thing. Being a male, I never prophesy to a woman unless someone else is there.
This last bit may not feel helpful, but you need to know it. You don’t have to prophesy it. You do not have to. God is not going to freak out on you if you pass up the opportunity to prophesy. I know we like to throw around the phrase, “If God is telling you to do something, you just do it.” There’s wisdom there.
However, He’s not going to revoke the gifts if you passed up an opportunity (Romans 11:29).
I pass up on some opportunities for various reasons.
On any given Sunday there could be multiple opportunities to prophesy.
In Paul’s first letters to the Corinthians, he had to restrict the amount of prophecies they gave at one time (1st Corinthians 14:29-33). Here’s more proof.
2 Co 2:12-13 ESV When I came to Troas to preach the gospel of Christ, even though a door was opened for me in the Lord, my spirit was not at rest because I did not find my brother Titus there. So I took leave of them and went on to Macedonia.
Paul passed up an opportunity to preach and it was a door opened for him, suggesting it was from God. So why do I tell you this? I want you to prophesy. I also want you to have a way out. I can’t be there for you. Though I’m trying to simplify everything as much as possible, there are unknown variables at play in your church and in your life that I can not speak to.
If you start passing up opportunities, it’s going to be harder for you to prophesy later, but you need to know that circumstances may not always be in your favor.
Does your church make allowances for prophecy?
When will you give the message?
Will it be in a crowded room with a lot of commotion?
Who are you prophesying to?
A leader in the church?
Circumstances are not always ideal. I almost never prophesy directly to church leadership, though I regularly share prophetic words for the church with them, so they can judge the word and decide whether to share the word.
I’ve never prophesied to my boss.
You shouldn’t prophesy to your spouse. Control can try to enter these things and that’s something to avoid.
Ethics are huge with this. I’m not trying to complicate things but I want you have a full view.
You may not remember all of the material within these posts when the inspiration to prophesy comes to you. You may not need all of it.
A simple message is a simple message.
How to Deliver a Message:
1. If you truly desire to prophesy, God’s going to give you something.
2. In the moment, think about it. Try not to overthink it (Which may feel impossible).
3. Consider how you’re going to give the message.
4. Rehearse it in your head a few times to better equip you to speak the message.
5. Make sure the message is encouraging, comforting and from God!
6. Consider any ethical concern.
7. Get in, give the message and get out of there.
I hope this blesses you! We’ll continue to build on this message next week!